Thomas DiNapoli, State comptroller of New York, Is trying to use $160 Billion pension fund money to pressurize President Obama to get all states to accept N.Y. gay marriages, according to the Associated Press.
DiNapoli wants the federal government to agree to, what he calls, a “place of celebration” standard.
He is seeking agreement that even states that do not allow gay marriage will accept them from New York.
He is following up the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month which removed parts of the Defense of Marriage Act from the statute.
Susan Sommer, director of Constitutional Litigation and Senior Counsel Lambda Legal, said:”It’s good for business…”It will remove any lingering argument some companies have been hiding behind… and it reflects some very well established principles.”
However, Stephen Hayford, legislative director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, responded: “Given the lack of clarity, it would be premature for the president to take Comptroller DiNapoli up on his request.”
DiNapoli is using his position as trustee of the state’s pension fund. to persuade companies he invests in to support all manner of things. He says it is just good business for them to accept gay marriage
DiNapoli wrote to Obama: “I have become increasingly concerned that companies that refuse to protect their employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, and those that exclude same-sex spouses from employee benefit plans that are available to opposite-sex spouses, are hurting their financial bottom line.”
However, Thomas DiNapoli is not without his critics.
Margaret O’Keefe, project manager for the fiscally conservative Manhattan Institute’s Proxy Monitor database, said: “It seems very political….DiNapoli should be more focused on getting a better return on the pension fund and not focus on these social issues.”
But, this is not the first time DiNapoli has used the size of the pension funds for political purposes. In previous years ended $86.2 million investments from nine companies doing business in Iran and Sudan because of the events taking place those countries.
Will Thomas DiNapoli persuade President Obama to act on this sensitive issue? Only time will tell.
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